The Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) is an electronics trade show held in Japan.

The five day show was held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture from Oct. 7 - 11. I visited the show on Saturday, the last day of the event. Admission was free so the show was packed. There were a few things that I discovered during the show that surprised me, but I was not too impressed overall.

CEATEC was once named the Electronics Show Japan, and without question, it was the benchmark for trade shows throughout the world during 1980s and 1990s.No other show could compare relative to square footage, show attendance and exhibitor participation. It was the largest event for consumer electronics and related industry including components and materials. CEATEC is similar to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas each year. One difference is the exhibitors are the manufacturers that showcase their products. There is a mix of attendees that include the media who report on technology and business trends, directors from sales teams to understand the market trends; and engineers looking for new R&D direction. 

Unfortunately, market conditions in Japan have changed drastically during the last few years. Large Japanese electronics companies lost market share along with their prestige for being the market leaders in business and technology. The CEATEC JAPAN show is reflecting this downturn as the show continues to shrink year over year. Floor space is one third of its size compared with the most popular years. Over six hundred companies attended this year but only three hundred booths were rented. Many companies are feeling the pinch and decided to share booths to cut costs. A couple of big named Japanese companies (Sony and Hitachi) as well as some larger-sized overseas companies (Samsung Electronics) didn’t even show up! The vacancies left from these companies were filled in with component suppliers and connector manufacturers that included TDK, Alps Electric, Murata and TE from the US. These companies were primarily component suppliers, but once the recession began they were forced to diversify and provide new electronic systems. Japanese PWB manufacturers are suffering also. None were in attendance at the show and many consider them no more than subcontractors for the Japanese electronics industry.

Several local governments and universities reserved space at the show to showcase their technologies and academic R&D projects. In my opinion, this venue was not suitable to promote their schools. This show is more of a platform for companies to introduce their electronic technologies.

Taiwanese, Chinese and Korean companies reserved a large amount of floor space. There were more than thirty Taiwanese companies and organizations in a special zone made up of mostly small manufacturing firms looking for subcontracting work in the electronics industry. I think it is a struggle for these companies to secure work in a shrinking industry. I plan on following up with a couple of companies I discovered with some unique technologies.

4K TV was the main topic of the event last year. Even though most of the electronics companies still spoke about 4K TV, the market has all but evaporated. NHK and JEITA are now featuring 8K TVs; but there was little interest in this and not too many visitors stopped at their booths.

Many companies are promoting products that center around some popular topic in the electronics world. The buzz words include Car Electronics, Robotics, Wearable and Healthcare. They were aggressively demonstrating the capabilities of their new technologies and new products using these buzz words, but there was nothing new. They more or less improved on their existing products. There was no company that stepped up and created the next greatest “must have” product.

CEATEC designated a large amount of space to feature exhibits that were interactive for children and others not affiliated with the electronics industry. The exhibitions included All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament, Experiences from Powered Suits, Trial Class of Fuel Cell Powered Automobiles and Personal Mobility tours provided by Honda. I do not think there is much of a market for any of this yet, but it did foster interest with the children. This could create a spark for some of them and in a decade or so their studies will take them into an engineering career. I hope the Japanese electronics companies can survive over the next decade.

Dominique K. Numakura, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
DKN Research, www.dknresearchllc.com

DKN Research Newsletter #1428, October 19, 2014 (English Edition)
(Micro Electronics & Packaging, www.dknresearchllc.com)

 *For newsletter archives, visit http://www.dknresearchllc.com/DKNRArchive/Newsletter/Newsletter.html

 Headlines of the Week

1. Toshiba developed a humanoid robot for healthcare application. It looks human being and is capable to make natural communications including sign language.

2. SCREEN unveiled the 3D coating system “80EX Spray Coater” for photoresist processes used in manufacturing MEMS devices.

3. Hiroshima University developed a thermal/electric conversion material-based copper sulfide compounds without expensive rare earth minerals.

4. Toppan Printing developed a molding process for biomass plastic made from recycled papers. It will reduce the consumption of plastic resins.

5. Toshiba received an order for 10,000 units of lithium ion battery systems (10 kW/unit) from Eneres Co., Ltd., a energy management service firm.

6. NEC received an order of submarine optical cable between Hong Kong and Thailand from AAEC (Asia-Africa-Europe Consortium).

7. Teijin-DuPont developed a PEN (polyethylene naphthalate) film, “Teonex QF,” said to have the lowest flammability of UL94 VTM-0.

8. Hitachi developed an optical engine for head mount displays, available under sunshine.

9. JDI decided to close its Fukaya plant in Saitama prefecture in April 2016 for company wide restructuring. JDI will file special loss of 7 billion yens.

10. NTT DATA developed a AR (augmented Reality) technology that realize non-keyboard input process for wearable smart glass.



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